The 2013 End of Year Research Round Up!

Well, here we are rushing towards the end of 2013, and I must apologise for the lack of posts in the latter part of this year, but I’m pleased to say that it’s for good reasons and we’ve just been very busy!

This is the first one of these we’ve ever done so I’m not sure how the format will work, so I’ll start with the slightly annoying news and then pick some subjects and tell you about some interesting studies that didn’t quite make it to the blog posts throughout the year!

So, the annoying stuff first;

Which? Food Supplements Attack!
Back in August, Which? claimed that all health food manufacturers, including some pretty large players like Boots, were deliberately misleading consumers with unsubstantiated health claims. The industry came out all guns blazing, as this just simply isn’t true. As an industry we are controlled and regulated by the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) and have to follow strict guidelines on what we are and are not allowed to say.

This being said, come 1st January 2014, we will be subject to a new EU law called the Nutrition and Health Claims Regulation (NHCR), which allows us, as an industry, to use prescribed claims for specific ingredients and products. This law has universally been slammed as it’s trying to make natural products fall under the same scrutiny as medicines, which is really a ‘hammer to crack a nut’ case of over-legislation, and seems to take no account of thousands of years of natural usage.

But, it’s here, so we will of course as always comply with the law, so you may over the next few months be seeing some subtle label changes, but rest assured it’s the same great value product in the pot!

That’s it for the negative stuff (thankfully). What follows are a few of the great pieces of research done over the last year, but which we didn’t quite have time to write about before!

Heart Health and the Cardiovascular System
This section covers quite a lot of research as it’s one of the biggest killers in the Western World, with about one death every 39 seconds, so it gets a lot of attention and funding, so here’s a brief synopsis of a few of the stories:

Vitamin C good for blood pressure!
Recent findings published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition combined several research studies and has come to several conclusions: Vitamin C supplementation has been associated with significant reductions in both systolic and diastolic blood pressure. When the data was limited just to people with high blood pressure the reduction was even greater, which has lead the researchers to consider a bigger and longer study on the positive effects of vitamin C on hypertension, one of the greatest causes of heart disease.

Flaxseed shows blood pressure lowering potential!
A daily dose of 30g Flaxseed (flour/ seeds) has been associated with a significant decrease in blood pressure, according to researchers from the Canadian Centre for Agri-Food Research in Health and Medicine (CCARM), based at St. Boniface Hospital.

“This is the largest decrease in blood pressure ever shown by any dietary intervention – including the Mediterranean Diet and low-sodium diets,” said lead researcher Dr Grant Pierce. “We expect that this kind of improvement in people with hypertension could reduce their incidence of heart attack and stroke by 50%.”

Mayo Clinic review links L-Carnitine to multiple heart health benefits!
A systematic review by the Mayo Clinic has said that L-Carnitine can reduce mortality, abnormal heart rhythms and angina development in patients experiencing a heart attack. The analysis reviewed 13 controlled trials involving 3,629 people and concluded that L-Carnitine had multiple cardiovascular benefits. “Compared with placebo or control, L-Carnitine is associated with a 27% reduction in all-cause mortality, a 65% reduction in ventricular arrhythmias, and a 40% reduction in anginal symptoms in patients experiencing an acute myocardial infarction.”

Selenium + CoQ10 supplements may slash cardiovascular mortality!
A new study from Sweden has indicated that long-term supplementation with a combination of selenium and co-enzyme Q10 may decrease cardiovascular mortality by about 6%. The study took place over four years supplementing with 200mg/day of co-enzyme Q10 plus 200µg per day of organic selenium yeast, with significant improvements in cardiac function. Generally throughout the word selenium intakes are below optimal levels because levels in the soil are low. Duffy MacKay, ND, VP of scientific and regulatory affairs for the Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN), said that this is the type of evidence that the industry needs to be producing to show how nutrition contributes to health and wellness.


Pregnancy and Baby Development!
This section covers just a few interesting items aimed at pregnant women:

EFSA (finally) backs folate supplements for neural tube defects!
The European Food Safety Authority (ESFA) has now joined other international authorities in backing the use of Folic Acid supplements to help prevent Neural Tube Defects like Spina Bifida and Hydrcephalus occurring during foetal development. Mandatory fortification has been promoted in about 75 countries around the world, but until now Europe have been somewhat behind.

NTDs are estimated to afflict about 300,000 births per year globally, with studies showing adequate folate intake can reduce these by about 70-75%, so this is very welcome news.

Maternal microbiota passes directly to newborns!
A mother’s gut microbiota may transfer and colonise newborn infants intestines in the first few days after birth. The data suggested that maternal bifido bacteria are an important component in the development of their baby’s microbiota during early infancy. “We found the exact same bifido bacterium strains from the mother’s intestines in the intestines of the neonate.” said, Dr Kenj Oishi, science director. This seems to be an important contribution to the new born’s digestive development as well as their immune system, further supporting the need for probiotics during pregnancy.

Pregnant women who take folic acid could reduce their child’s risk of autism by 40%!
Women who take folic acid supplements early in their pregnancy may reduce their child’s risk of autism by 40%, a recent study has found. But, mothers-to-be should start taking them four weeks before conceiving and up to 12 weeks afterwards to get the full benefit for their unborn child. The timing of taking prenatal supplements is critical, scientists warn.

Folic acid is required for DNA synthesis and repairs and while best known (as previously mentioned) for protecting against spina bifida and other neural tube defects, this new research proves its importance at other developmental stages.

Resveratrol
And, finally a quick review of some of the research about a particular ingredient, Resveratrol:

Resveratrol may support healthy blood circulation in obese adults!
Daily supplements of resveratrol may boost blood flow and support a healthy heart, according to a new study reported in the Journal of Hypertension. This daily intake was associated with a 23% improvement in flow mediated dilation (FMD) of blood flow around the body. The effect immediately after taking the supplement was even greater with a 35% improvement observed. Resveratrol is a powerful polyphenol and anti-fungal chemical, found in grapes and red wine, which has often been associated with the so called ‘French Paradox’, which describes the low instance of heart disease and obesity amongst the French, despite their relatively high-fat diet and levels of wine consumption.

Resveratrol could help in cancer treatment!
US researchers have discovered that the antioxidant compound resveratrol, which is found in grape skins and red wine, makes certain tumour cells more susceptible to radiation treatment. The study, which was carried out at the University of Missouri, focused on melanoma cells. The scientists found that 44% of melanoma cells were destroyed when treated with resveratrol alone. However, when a combination of radiation and resveratrol was used together 65% of the cancer cells were destroyed, with the results being published in the Journal of Surgical Research.

So that’s it, that’s the end of my 2013 (no so) quick round up! Hopefully there’s something of interest to you in there, and all that remains for me to do is wish you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!


Sources:
Nutra Ingredients.com: http://www.nutraingredients.com/Regulation/Academics-slam-medicine-based-eu-health-claims.html
Nutra Ingredients.com: http://www.nutraingredients.com/content/view/print/812807.html
Nutra Ingredients.com: http://www.nutraingredients.com/content/view/print/627442.html
Nutra Ingredients.com: http://www.nutraingredients.com/content/view/print/704191.html
Nutra Ingredients.com: http://www.nutraingredients.com/content/view/print/766279.html
Nutra Ingredients.com: http://www.nutraingredients.com/content/view/print/639831.html
Nutra Ingredients.com: http://www.nutraingredients.com/content/view/print/803130.html
Nutra Ingredients.com: http://www.nutraingredients.com/content/view/print/767186.html
Mail Online: http://www.dailymail.co.uk: Published 12/2/2013
Nutra Ingredients.com: http://www.nutraingredients.com/content/view/print/782788.html
Your Healthy Living Magazine: http://www.yourhealthyliving.co.uk: November 2013 issue

Posted in General, Heart Health, Immune System, Multivitamins, News, Pregnancy, Vitamin C | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on The 2013 End of Year Research Round Up!

Isn’t it about time the UK increased its Vitamin D RDA?

Since my last post there have been a couple of European changes to RDA (Recommended Daily Allowance) levels, which has made me think that the UK really should be following suit if it truly is interested in the health of its residents!

Both Norway and Italy had up until recently Vitamin D RDA levels set at 10µg (double the current 5µg set for the UK!), but earlier this year they have both at least doubled these levels, with Norway increasing to 20µg and Italy moving to a fantastic 25µg. Now I’m sure there will be lots of people saying that Norway get much less sun than the UK, so these increases are necessary, but can they make the same argument for Italy, I think not! I just see this as a great recognition of the importance of good nutrition!

So let’s remind ourselves why vitamin D is so important:

Vitamin D pills linked to better heart health for diabetics!
According to researchers from Wolfson Medical Centre and Tel Aviv University in Israel, daily doses of vitamin D at 1000iu, (25µg) for one year can significantly decrease the central aortic augmentation index, a predictor of adverse cardiovascular events.

“The findings of the present study may have clinical implications for the usual recommended daily allowance for vitamin D in diabetic patients,” they wrote in Clinical Nutrition. “Since the levels of vitamin D are extremely low in this population, more appropriate daily supplementation doses of >1000iu/day might be recommended to achieve optimal levels of vitamin D.”

The study backed up a study published in Diabetes Care last year. The Israeli researchers recruited type-2 diabetic patients to participate in their randomised, placebo-controlled study.


Vitamin D supplements may yield immune benefits in healthy people!
Improving the blood levels of vitamin D via supplementation could help fight disease by affecting gene expression and boosting the immune system.

The study published in PLoS ONE, reveals for the first time that improvement in the vitamin D status of healthy adults significantly impacts with a number of biological pathways associated with cardiovascular disease, infectious disease and autoimmune diseases.

A randomised double-blind trial conducted at the Boston University School of Medicine, USA, which went a step further than previous research, has suggested vitamin D may be associated directly with improving immune response and lowering the risk for many diseases.

The participants received between 400iu and 2000ius per day for a period of two months, with samples of immune cells being taken before and after the study, showing increases for both groups, but significantly so for the higher vitamin D takers!


Vitamin D helps beat symptoms of asthma!
Vitamin D could help people suffering with asthma breath more easily, claim British researchers. Scientists at King’s College London have discovered vitamin D has the potential to significantly cut the symptoms of sufferers. They say it may one day be prescribed as a treatment alongside conventional steroids, but reducing the need for medication. The study found the vitamin resulted in lower levels of a natural chemical in the body that aggravates symptoms in asthma patients and cuts the effectiveness of steroids.

The results demonstrated that vitamin D could potentially provided an effective treatment for all asthma sufferers, as it significantly cut the production of IL-17A in cells, which is known to reduce the effectiveness of steroid based treatments.

And finally, just to show that whilst we may look at individual nutrients a good balanced approach is always preferred!

Probiotics may help boost vitamin D levels!
A daily supplement of probiotics may boost circulating vitamin D levels in the blood by 25%, according to a published randomised controlled trial. The study, published in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, is the first to show that oral probiotic supplements may increase circulation levels of the sunshine vitamin.

“Although it has long been known that the gastrointestinal tract plays an active role in the absorption of vitamin D, these findings showing improved vitamin D status in response to an orally delivered probiotic are a first, and will inform the development of new products that may be beneficial for people with low vitamin D levels.”

So, make sure you get your probiotics as well as your vitamins and minerals, including vitamin D.

I think that’s about enough for this post, but you never know maybe someone in the relevant government department will read this and consider another look at our current RDA levels!


Sources:
Nutra Ingredients.com: http://www.nutraingredients.com/content/ view/print/753788.html
Nutra Ingredients.com: http://www.nutraingredients.com/content/view/print/747774.html
Nutra Ingredients.com: http://www.nutraingredients.com/content/view/print/747975.html
Nutra Ingredients.com: http://www.nutraingredients.com/content/view/print/756655.html
Mail Online: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2327241/vitamin-d-helps-beat-symptoms-of-asthma.html
Nutra Ingredients.com: http://www.nutraingredients.com/content/view/print/779396.html
Nutra Ingredients.com: http://www.nutraingredients.com/content/view/print/783640.html

Posted in General, Heart Health, Immune System, News, Vitamin D | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Isn’t it about time the UK increased its Vitamin D RDA?

Vitamin D – Are You Getting Enough?

There’s been a lot of press coverage over the last few months on Vitamin D, so much in fact that even the UK Government has acted and allowed supplement manufacturers to put awareness advice on their products informing at risk groups of the dangers of being vitamin D deficient! The at risk groups at present seem to include pregnant or breast feeding women, infants, the elderly and people who have low or no exposure to the sun (whatever that means!). We are allowed to use specific wording for each of the groups rather than one all encompassing statement, but the sentiment for all of them is as follows:

“all pregnant women/ adults aged over 65/ people who are housebound/ infants should take a vitamin D supplement.”

I actually applaud the government for this move as the health issues associated with vitamin D have been known for many years, but it does appear that either we are now not getting enough from our food or the recent bad weather and just general over protection from the sun we now encourage is having an effect on our health!

Below are a few of the recent stories that have been published:

Study finds obesity can ‘lead to lack of vitamin D’
The report, in the journal PLOS Medicine, analysed genetic data from 21 studies – a total of 42,000 people. It found that every 10% rise in body mass index (BMI), led to a 4% drop of available vitamin D in the body. This is very strange as vitamin D is stored in fatty tissue, but the authors suggested that the larger storage capacity in obese people may prevent it from circulating in the bloodstream.

Lead author Dr Elina Hypponen, from the University College London Institute of Child Health, said the study “highlights the importance of monitoring and treating vitamin D deficiency in people who are over weight.”



Vitamin D backed to boost diabetic heart disease risk.
Low levels of vitamin D may be responsible for the increased risk of heart disease that comes from diabetic people developing clogged arteries, according to new research!

The study published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry reports that diabetic people who receive good levels of vitamin D are less likely to develop atherosclerotic plaques, which clog up blood vessels, while low vitamin D levels can cause a higher risk of developing blood vessel clogging plaque.

Led by Carlos Bernal-Mizrachi from Washington University School of Medicine, the research team suggested that their findings indicate low vitamin D levels may be to blame for the higher risk of heart disease often seen in people with diabetes.

“As obesity rates rise, we expect even more people will develop diabetes,” said Bernal-Mizrachi. “Those patients are more likely to experience heart problems due to an increase in vascular inflammation, so we have been investigating why this occurs.”

The study investigated the vitamin D levels in people with Type 2 diabetes compared with people of a similar age and build but did not have diabetes, and their levels of vitamin D in the blood were significantly lower, which made macrophage cells more likely to adhere to the walls of blood vessels, triggering them to load with cholesterol and eventually causing the vessels to stiffen and then block blood low.



Significant link between daytime sleepiness and low vitamin D!
A new study has found that there is a significant correlation between excessive daytime sleepiness and low vitamin D levels.

The research team said that the findings are the first to demonstrate a significant relationship between sleepiness and vitamin D.

Vitamin D levels were measured by blood sampling and sleepiness was determined using the Epworth Sleepiness Scale, and those patients with low vitamin D could be correlated with sleepiness!



Low maternal vitamin D again linked to low birth weights!
Women deficient in vitamin D early in their pregnancies are twice as likely to deliver babies with lower birth weights, say researchers in a collaborative Prenatal project conducted in 12 medical centres.

“A mother’s vitamin D level early in pregnancy may impact the growth of her baby later in pregnancy,” said lead author Dr Alison Gernand from the University of Pittsburgh – who led the study. Writing in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism Dr Gernand and her team reveal that mothers with low levels of vitamin D in the first 26 weeks of pregnancy delivered babies an average of 46 grams less than their peers.

“This is one of the largest studies to examine a mother’s vitamin D levels and their relationship with birth weights,” said Dr Lisa Bodnar, senior author of the research.

The study included babies only delivered at full-term across a sample of 2,146 pregnant women.

This shows the importance of vitamin D, especially in an era when modern women weigh more, have less sun exposure and as a general populous we are more vitamin D deficient!



So there you have a few of the recent studies that may well have contributed to the Government’s recommendation for nearly everyone to take a vitamin D supplement!


Sources:
BBC Health News: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-21339107
Nutra Ingredients.com: http://www.nutraingredients.com/content/view/print/712146.html
Nutra Ingredients.com: http://www.nutraingredients.com/content/view/print/730494.html
Nutra Ingredients.com: http://www.nutraingredients.com/content/view/print/710635.html
Nutra Ingredients.com: http://www.nutraingredients.com/content/view/print/700602.html

Posted in General, Heart Health, News, Pregnancy, Vitamin D | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Vitamin D – Are You Getting Enough?

For the EU!

This just tickled me, I wonder how much red tape these guys had to go through for their health?

2000 year old Italian shipwreck found with supplements on board!

Posted in Eye Health, General, Minerals, News | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on For the EU!

Healthy Nutrients for Pregnancy!

Health Plus have always been quite vocal about our belief that nutrition plays a very important role in pregnancy! From pre-conception, right the way through to the end of breast feeding and beyond for the health of the mother!

Well, hopefully these two studies will show that we were not wrong!

Study Calls for Maternal Vitamin D Supplementation!

A recent study led by Dr Ruth Dobson, of the Queen Mary University of London, has suggested that new data ‘strongly implicates’ maternal levels of vitamin D with the risk of multiple sclerosis (MS) in children. This study shows that there is a strong case for supplementation of this vitamin for pregnant women in countries where sunlight levels are low between October and March.

The team cite the significant increased risk among those born in April and May in addition to a significantly lower risk among those born in October and November, as reason enough to call for supplementation with vitamin D during winter months.

The study compared data on nearly 152,000 people with MS with expected birth rates for the disease in a bid to find out if there was any link between country of birth and risk of developing MS. In latitudes greater than 52 degrees from the equator, insufficient ultraviolet light reaches the skin between October and March to enable the body to produce enough vitamin D.


Maternal Vitamin C Backed for Baby’s Brain Development!

Maternal deficiency in vitamin C during pregnancy could have serious consequences for the development of the foetal brain that cannot be reversed after birth, warn researchers.

“Even marginal vitamin C deficiency in the mother stunts the foetal hippocampus, the important memory centre, by 10-15%, preventing the brain from optimal development,” said research leader Professor Jens Lykkesfeldt – from the University of Copenhagen, Denmark. He also added that because many population studies have shown that between 10-20% of all adults in the developed world suffer from vitamin C deficiency, pregnant women should think twice about neglecting to take a daily vitamin supplement.

“Because it takes so little to avoid vitamin C deficiency, it is my hope that both politicians and authorities will become aware that this can be a potential problem,” he said.


I hope these two studies can show how important nutrition is for both the developing foetus and the health of the mother, on which the baby relies so much!

Health Plus have a full range of vitamin and minerals, including the mentioned vitamin D and vitamin C, but really we would recommend a more considered approach when it comes to pregnancy and would heartily promote our Pregnancy Pack from the Daily Packs range!

Stay healthy!



Sources:
Nutra Ingredients: http://www.nutraingredients.com/content/view/print/701048.html
Nutra Ingredients.com: http://www.nutraingredients.com/content/view/print/701327.html

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Health Plus Health & Happiness Survey

Increasingly, people in Britain are saying that they’re too exhausted and overworked to enjoy their life in the way that they want to – whether that be spending time with their family, being intimate with their partner or just feeling generally happy.

Many people are turning to nutritional supplements to help them sustain their frenetic modern lifestyles, without which their health, libido and stress levels would be in an even worse state than they already are.

Health Plus would like to find out more about the reasons why people use supplements and what difference they make to their lives, so that we can continue to offer the best products to suit the needs of our customers. To help us with this, if you’re over 18 and have ever (or continue to do so) taken nutritional supplements please take a few moments to complete our survey, which you’ll find here.

Many of the questions only require a tick in a box, and the whole thing should only take a couple of minutes to complete. As a ‘Thank you’ for completing the survey, if you give us your name and address , we’ll send you a free pack of one of our most popular products – Vitamin C 500mg Time Release. (You can, though, remain anonymous if you prefer).

We’ll leave the survey open for a few weeks, so you’ve got plenty of time (and you can tell your friends and family, too!).

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Some Great Supplement Statistics!

Hello, in this little blog post I’m not going to talk about specific products or indeed a specific nutrient, but a couple of things news wise that caught my attention, so I thought I would share!

Pharmaceutical Drugs are 62,000 times more likely to kill you than supplements!
I love a good statistic, you can use then to prove all sorts of things! When I read that headline I was hooked, I had to keep reading! Now that particular heading at first seemed a bit dramatic and over bearing and yes, maybe even designed to shock, but reading on a bit further, that combined with some of the other (tongue in cheek, or not!) statistics really got me thinking. So below I’m going to give you quite a highlights list:

These key points are all from a recent report released by the ANH (Alliance for Natural Health), who do a lot of good work lobbying on our and your behalf in Europe.

  • You are 797,940 times more likely to die from smoking than from taking a food supplement
  • A person resident in the UK is an incredible 293,006 times more likely to die from a preventable medical injury!
  • A spell in a UK hospital poses a similar risk of death to active military service in Iraq or Afghanistan
  • The risk of death from pharmaceutical drugs in the UK is 62,000 times that of taking nutritional supplements
  • Pharmaceutical drugs pose nearly double the risk of death than motorcycle accidents on UK roads
  • The uses of herbal medicines and nutritional supplements can both be regarded as ‘supersafe’, posing no significant risk of death. The risk of death is less than 1 in 10,000,000 (10 million) people exposed to nutritional supplements
  • UK residents are about as likely to be hit by lightning or to be killed on the London Underground than to die from taking herbal remedies or nutritional supplements
  • Now, I know these are great statistics and make a good read, but it did get me to thinking that the reason the government and EU brought in a lot of its recent legislation, including the controversial Herbal Medicine restrictions, was in the interest of consumer safety. Is it just me, or would we have been safer before the giant pharmaceutical companies got their claws into our industry and started influencing government policy? There aren’t many industries that have a vested interest in you being ill, we’d rather keep people healthy! Visit the Health Plus website


    Vitamin and Dietary Supplements: Too much of a good thing? The science would suggest not….
    At the end of July the Euromonitor blog asked some very probing questions on the efficacy, safety and marketing of food supplements. This post was met with some discord but, being fair and reasonable people, Euromonitor allowed a lot of debate and eventually a right of reply to their post. The overwhelming outcome of this reply has been in no uncertain terms in the favour of the use of nutritional supplements, with many internationally respected researchers quoting many research papers and studies showing the huge benefits of consistent nutritional supplement use in the prevention and halting of many common ailments!


    Vitamin C RDA should be doubled, says Linus Pauling Institute researcher!
    Finally someone clever is saying something we’ve been saying for years!
    According to a new article in Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition, recommended levels of vitamin C should be raised from the current 80mg per day, to 200mg per day for adults. Professor Balz Frei, director of the Linus Pauling Institute says, “there is growing evidence that more of this vitamin could help prevent chronic disease.”, also stating that, “a 200mg intake of vitamin C on a daily basis poses absolutely no risk, but there is strong evidence it would have multiple and substantial health benefits!”

    Even with the current (low!) RDAs, it is being found that many adults are deficient in this important vitamin, which is leading to many health problems!

    I know I said at the beginning of this post I wouldn’t make it about a specific nutrient or product, but when a piece of research pushing an increase in RDAs (which let’s face it were set over 50 years ago when the world was a different place, and only prevented a deficiency!) comes along I can’t help but support it! In fact I don’t think it goes far enough! We should be looking for 500mg daily at least, to promote good health, and 1000mg to start getting optimum levels, but that’s for another day.

    I hope you enjoyed the stats and that I’ve also made you think about RDAs and vit C levels!

    Stay Healthy!

    Sources:
    Alliance for Natural Health: http://www.anh-europe.org/print/3693
    Mercola.com: http://blogs.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2012/07/24/pharmaceutical-drugs-are-62000-times-more-likely-to-kill-you-than-supplements
    Nutra Ingredients.com: http://www.nutraingredients.com/Industry/Vitamins-and-dietary-supplements-Too-much-of-a-good-thing-The-science-would-suggest-not
    Nutra Ingredients.com: http://www.nutraingredients.com/content/view/print/656380

    Posted in General, Herbal Supplements, News | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Some Great Supplement Statistics!

    Ladies, this one’s for you!

    Hi, just a quick round up of a few things that caught my eye recently, all products we know and love but maybe not in the way they’re reported here!

    Folate During Pregnancy!
    Now we all all know of the benefits on the growth and development of babies of women taking Folic Acid in the first three months of pregnancy (and before trying to conceive if possible). It can significantly reduce the instances of Neural Tube Defects, such as Spina Bifida and Anencephaly, which lead to recommendations by the Chief Medical Officer for 400µg of Folic Acid be taken daily for the first Trimester of pregnancy!

    But, did you also know that resent research has suggested that adequate levels of Folic Acid taken during pregnancy can reduce the risk of emotional problems for the children as they develop, by as much as 57%.

    Some researchers have reported that children of women who took Folic Acid supplements were better able to internalize and externalize problems, compared to those whose mothers did not take supplements.

    The study analysed data for 3,209 children, where folate levels were measured in early pregnancy, and the use of Folic Acid supplements assessed using questionnaires. The children’s emotional and behavioural problems were assessed with the Child Behaviour Check-list at the average age of three. The results showed that the children of Mothers with a prenatal folate deficiency were at a 57% higher risk of emotional problems, as well as the mother themselves becoming more emotional.

    Vitamins C & E may benefit women on oral contraceptives!
    A daily dose of vitamins C and E of at least 200mg and 200iu respectively have been associated with significant decreases in the levels of a marker used to indicate oxidative stress in women receiving the oral contraceptive pill, according to findings published in the journal Contraception.

    “These data suggest that low-dose oral contraceptives, by enhancing the stress oxidative lipid peroxidation, may represent a potential cardiovascular risk factor, and the use of vitamins E and C may be beneficial in ameliorating this side effect of oral contraceptives,” wrote researchers from the Shiraz University of Medical Sciences.

    This was a controlled study with 120 women over a 4 week period. At the end of the period, only the group taking the vitamins had reduced levels of the MDA marker.

    The pill aside we would always recommend a good vitamin C and vitamin E product!

    Seaweed Extracts May Slim Waistlines in 12 Weeks!
    Researchers from the University of Copenhagen have reported that obese people taking seaweed (Kelp) supplements lost on average 1.74kg more body weight than those on a placebo.

    The additional loss of body weight was “mainly attributed to a reduction in the percentage of body fat”, they wrote in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

    With the World Health Organisation (WHO) estimating that by 2015, there will be more than 1.5 billion overweight consumers, this double-blind, placebo-controlled 12 week study, provides some sort of insight on how we may be able to help and reduce this.

    Hopefully you’ve found these interesting and look out for more news over the next coming weeks!

    Sources:
    Nutra Ingredients: http://www.nutraingredients.com?content/view/print/647956.html
    Nutra Ingredients.com: http://www.nutraingredients.com/content/view/print/647867.html
    Nutra Ingredients: http://www.nutraingredients.com?content/view/print/642134.html

    Posted in General, News, Pregnancy, Vitamin E | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Ladies, this one’s for you!

    Nutrients and brain function!

    Just thought I’d quickly share a couple of bits of news and research with you!

    Sugar can eat away your brainpower!
    According to US scientists from UCLA (University of California Los Angeles), who recently published consuming too much sugar can eat away your brainpower!

    The study which introduced high-fructose corn syrup (a common ingredient in processed foods) to the diet for six weeks, noted that there was a significant reduction in memory and brain function at the end of the period, compared with the control group.

    “Because insulin can penetrate the blood-brain barrier, the hormone may signal neurons to trigger reactions that disrupt learning and cause memory loss” Gomez-Pinilla said.

    The average American consumes more than 40 pounds (18 Kg) of high-fructose corn syrup per year, according to the US Department of Agriculture. “Our study shows that a high-fructose diet harms the brain as well as the body. This is something new!”, “Our findings illustrate that what you eat affects how you think,” said Gomez-Pinilla.

    I know this study won’t come as a big shock to most of you, but I do find it slightly worrying as more and more American processed food hits our shores!

    This is why we have NO SUGAR in 99% of our products!

    Multivitamin Supplements Boost Brain Function, say UK Researchers!
    No, this doesn’t mean that you can have a high sugar diet and then just take a multivitamin! lol

    In a series of studies published in the British Journal of Nutrition, Psychopharmacology, and Human Psychopharmacology, teams of British neuroscientists investigated the effect of multivitamin supplementation on mood and cognitive function.

    The researchers monitored groups of healthy children, men and women who took commercially available vitamins and minerals supplements daily for 12 weeks, and tested their cognitive performance through tasks requiring attention, memory, accuracy and/or multitasking ability. The mood or stress levels of participants were also assessed.

    Their findings indicated that taking a multivitamin supplement daily can improve cognitive performance in both children and adults, after only a few weeks of supplementation.

    Men taking high dose B-Complex vitamins showed improved performance on cognitive tasks, were less mentally tired and showed improved vigor. Women taking multivitamins & mineral supplements were demonstrated to have increased accuracy and speed on multitasking. Children, aged 8-14, showed increased accuracy in attention-based tasks.

    These findings add solid evidence indicating that good quality multivitamin supplements offer significant and varied benefits. According to the UK’s National Diet and Nutrition Survey, the general population in the UK has vitamin deficiencies or insufficiencies across most vitamin groups.

    Multivitamins aren’t the only supplements that have an impact on brain activity. In a study the same group of scientists found that supplementing with 1-2 grams of fish oil containing DHA (Docosahexaenoic Acid) was associated with increased cerebral blood flow, and therefore an influence on brain function, especially as we age!

    I hope these studies have got you thinking and maybe even considering a daily multivitamin!

    Sources:
    Yahoo! News UK: http://uk.news.yahoo.com/sugar-dumb-us-scientists-warn-18091874.html
    Nutra Ingredients.com: http://www.nutraingredients.com/content/view/print/628612.html

    Posted in B Vitamins, Fish Oils, General, Multivitamins, News | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Nutrients and brain function!

    Turmeric, Vitamin D and Probiotics!

    Here’s a few interesting studies I’ve recently found and saved until we launched our new products. But today I’ll just focus on three of the ingredients.

    The products that these studies will relate to are: Turmeric Plus, Vitamin D and Mega Multi Probiotic!

    Curcumin may have a Parkinson’s promise!
    Intake of the Turmeric spice curcumin could help to reduce clumping of proteins associated with the onset of Parkinson’s disease, according to new research.

    The study – published in The Journal of Biological Chemistry – reports that the compound found in the spice Turmeric could one day be effective in preventing or reducing Parkinson’s by blocking the clumping (aggregation) action of proteins involved in the disease. The researchers from Michigan State University, found that the spice prevented aggregation of a protein known as alpha-synuclein by forcing it to scatter.

    “Our research shows that curcumin can rescue proteins from aggregation, the first steps of many debilitating diseases,” said Professor Lisa Lapidus, who co-authored the paper.

    Curcumin, the natural pigment that gives the spice Turmeric its yellow colour, has increasingly come under the scientific spotlight in recent years, with studies investigating its potential health benefits. As a result, curcumin has been linked to a range of health benefits, including potential protection against prostate cancer, Alzheimer’s heart failure, diabetes, arthritic and IBS.

    Curcumin may slow tumour growth!
    Intake of curcumin at ‘physiologically attainable’ doses could help slow the development of prostate cancers by jamming receptors linked to cancer tumour growth, say researchers.

    The study – published in Cancer Research – reports that isoflavones found in Turmeric could help slow the growth of tumours in prostate cancers by blocking the receptors of certain molecular pathways that have been shown to play a role in the development of prostate cancers.

    By blocking the receptors p300 and CPB (or CREB1-binding protein), the team found that the spice extract was “a potent inhibitor of both cell cycle and survival in prostate cancer cells.” Dr Karen Knudsen said the findings may also have implications beyond prostate cancer, “since p300 and CBP are important in other malignancies, like breast cancer.”

    Vitamin D supplements may help you live longer!
    Vitamin D supplements may reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes and boost survival for older people, suggests a new analysis.

    The greatest benefits of the supplements were observed in people with vitamin D deficiency, researchers from the University of Kansas report in the American Journal of Cardiology. The findings could have implications for current guidelines, said the researchers, since supplements providing at least 400iu per day may be needed to avoid deficiency.

    “Because vitamin D deficiency is widespread, strategies directed at population-based supplementation programmes could prove beneficial,” wrote the researchers.

    Vitamin D refers to two biologically inactive precursors – D3, also known as cholecalciferol, and D2, also known as ergocalciferol. Both D3 and D2 precursors are transformed in the liver and kidneys into 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D), the non-active ‘storage’ form, and 1.25-dihydroxyvitamin D (1.25(OH)2D), the biologically active form that is tightly controlled by the body.

    While our bodies do manufacture vitamin D on exposure to sunshine, the levels in some northern countries are so weak during winter months that our body makes no vitamin D at all, meaning that dietary supplements and fortified foods are seen by many as the best way to boost intakes of vitamin D. Vitamin D deficiency in adults is reported to cause osteopenia, osteoporosis, muscle weakness, fractures, common cancers, auto-immune diseases, infectious diseases and cardiovascuar diseases. There is now also more evidence that the vitamin may reduce the incidence of several types of cancer and type-1 and -2 diabetes.

    Probiotic intake linked to fewer birth complications!
    Regular consumption of probiotic formulations are associated with a 20% reduction in the risk of pre-eclampsia, suggests new data from the Norwegian Institute of Public Health.

    The potential benefits were even more pronounced when researchers studied severe pre-eclampsia, with daily intakes associated with a 39% reduction, according to results published in the American Journal of Epidemiology.

    “This large observational study indicates an independent protective association between intake or probiotic products and pre-elampsia, especially when severe, suggesting that probiotics might specifically ‘target’ and modify the type of inflammation underlying severe pre-eclampsia,” wrote the authors, led by Dr Anne Lise Brantsaeter.

    The Norwegian researchers analysed data from 33,399 women participating in the Norwegian Mother and Child Cohort study. Results showed that a daily intake of strong probiotics was associated with a 20% reduced risk of pre-eclampsia, with even more pronounced effects for severe pre-eclampsia, showing a 39% reduced risk!

    So, that’s four great studies across three great products, I hope you found this interesting!

    Sources:
    Nutra Ingredients.com: http://www.nutraingredients.com/content/view/print/623140.html
    Nutra Ingredients.com: http://www.nutraingredients.com/content/view/print/612115.html
    Nutra Ingredients.com: http://www.nutraingredients.com/content/view/print/624036.html
    Nutra Ingredients.com: http://www.nutraingredients.com/Research/Probiotic-intake-linked-to-fewer-birth-complications.html

    Posted in Heart Health, Herbal Supplements, Immune System, News, Pregnancy, Vitamin D | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Turmeric, Vitamin D and Probiotics!